Lessons learned on the stage at Bay City Central High School still guide Korie Lee Blossey as he plays Genie in the touring production of the Tony Award-winning musical Aladdin.
Blossey graduated from Bay City Central High School in 1998. Ask him about his favorite show and he quickly starts naming productions – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The King & I, The Music Man, Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof, and Annie. He was in high school and community shows at the Bay City Players, Midland Center for the Arts, and Pit & Balcony Theatre in Saginaw.
“Anytime there was an audition, I was going to be there, regardless of the show,” Blossey says. “I liked playing all the different roles.”
Today, Blossey still carries lessons he learned here as an ensemble cast member.
“Learning how to be a strong ensemble member prepared me to be a principal,” Blossey says. “You learn so much. You see everything – all the different experiences and the ways people handle different roles and how to prepare for different roles.”
The Aladdin tour stops at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts in East Lansing Dec. 4 to Dec. 15. Ticket information is available at the Wharton Center.
Aladdin, based on the Academy Award-winning animated film and centuries of folktales, opened on Broadway in 2014. Since then, it has grossed over $1 billion and earned one Tony Award. The creative team behind the show has collectively earned 22 Tony Awards.
Genie was famously played by Robin Williams in the 1992 animated film and by Will Smith in the 2019 live-action film. Blossey says Genie is a little different in the stage version. He can’t say much about the differences, though, without giving away surprises.
Korie Lee Blossey, who plays Genie in the traveling production of the hit Broadway musical Aladdin, is thrilled to perform before family and friends again this December when he takes the stage in East Lansing.
“The way the director has this set up, it’s really letting our personalities shine through. Little things that work for Korie may not work for somebody else,” Blossey says.
What hasn’t changed from the movie is Genie’s energy. “You have to be able to change personalities on the drop of a dime.”
“I like to give a lot of heart,” Blossey says. “I use everything from my upbringing and my family. Everything that’s me comes out on that stage.”
While that attitude makes him love every moment of the show, Blossey does admit to several scenes he especially enjoys. First, he identifies with Genie’s desire to befriend the person who frees him from the bottle.
The performance of “Arabian Nights” marks one of Blossey’s favorite parts in the show.
“When you get out of that lamp and see Aladdin, you want to make him your best friend. It doesn’t matter who it is, you’re going to make that person your best friend,” Blossey says. “You just say, ‘Gosh, look what I can do. I can do this. I can do that. We should be friends, right?’ You want to show everything you’ve got.
“It’s a lot of fun to give your all and give everything you’ve got to try to impress somebody. Everybody has done that in their life, especially as a child.”
He also loves performing “Friend Like Me.” “It’s non-stop,” Blossey says. “Once you get going, you’re in it to win it. There’s energy everywhere and you’re running all over the stage.”
Another favorite moment comes at the beginning of “Arabian Nights.” “Genie says, ‘Everybody sing!’ and the whole cast onstage starts singing ‘Arabian Nights.’ Right before I say ‘Everybody sing,’ I just look around at the whole company and appreciate everybody I get to work with.”
Given his joy at the sight of his fellow actors, it’s not surprising to hear Blossey’s other favorite onstage moment.
“At the end, looking at the whole company standing on the stage, I think that I started with this amazing group and now I get to finish with this group. I thoroughly appreciate that. I love this production.”
He also appreciates all that goes into making the show sparkle. “The costumes are magical,” Blossey says. “There’s about 350 hand-crafted costumes. There’s about 100 costume changes that happen in less than a minute. It’s truly magical. It’s everything you want in a show.”
It took the work of more than 352 people using 2,039 fabrics and trim pieces from all over the world to create the costumes.The 337 costumes in the show were created by 352 people using 2,039 fabrics and trimming from around the world. During one performance, the cast makes 102 costume changes in less than a minute. Half of those changes happen in less than 30 seconds.
He’s eager to share all those moments with family, friends, co-workers, teachers, and others when he brings the show to East Lansing. “I’ve learned so much from so many people and now to be able to give them back that love, I feel honored to be able to do that,” Blossey says.
His father, Joseph Snead Jr., brother, Jason Blossey, and sister, Shauree Blossey, still live in the area.
“Anything is possible if you’re willing to work for it,” Blossey says. “I always say Aladdin never really needed Genie. He had it in him the whole time. He just had to believe he could do it. If you believe you can do it, anything is possible. I never knew I could be where I am right now. With hard work and dedication, anything is possible.”